International Justice Group Wants Liberia’s TRC Recommendations Implemented

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Cllr. Jerome Verdier, Executive Director, International Justice Group

Washington D.C. – The Executive Director of The International Justice Group (IJG) and Chairman of the erstwhile Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) has expressed delight and lauded the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) for recognizing the need for entrenching Justice into our body polity and welcome their courageous calls for the full implementation of all the recommendations of the TRC, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Economic and War Crimes Tribunal for Liberia.

Cllr [Jerome] Verdier reiterated that the call for the full implimentation of all TRC recommendations  is in keeping with law and section 46 of The TRC Act when it clearly stated that “The Independent Human Rights Commission shall be seized with the responsibility to ensure that all the recommendations contained in the Report of the TRC are implemented and that and that civil society organizations and moral guarantors of The CPA shall be seized of the responsibility to monitor  and campaign for the scrupulous implimentation of all recommendations contained in the report”.
And Section 48, which also provides that “The Head of State shall report to the National Legislature within three months of receipt of the report of the TRC, and on a quarterly basis thereafter, as to the implementation of the Commission’s Recommendations. All recommendations shall be implemented. Where the implementation of any recommendations has not been complied with, the Legislature shall require the Head of State to show cause for such non-compliance.”

Chairman Verdier went on to say both the National Legislature and the President, Mr. George M. Weah, are in open violation of the laws of Liberia and the rule of law principle, which places the law far above individuals and institutions created by law. He said maintaining the rule of law is important for maintaining a stable and more peaceful society and acts as the number incentive for attracting international trade, commerce and foreign investments to the country.

That the Chief Executive, President Weah, to be in open violation of the law without any plausible excuse or justification is a non starter especially for a new government. He said the president and his CDC- controlled Legislature are undermining the viability of the state and setting very wrong precidence for security, stability and peace of the state because soon the citizens will realize that if these important institutions of State are lawless and disrespectful of the laws then they too as citizens have the right to refuse to obey the laws of the land, pointing to chaos, a breakdown of law and order and the eventual unraveling of our fledgling democratic process.

The Executive Director of the ICG noted over the weekend that we should recognize as the internaational community has long since recognized that the rule of law above all men is imperative because it stabilizes our environment a d societies. It is very Central to maintaining our modern global social, political and economic order the pursuit of which we all must submit to the rule of law wether it pleases us or not or runs contrary to our intrinsic interest.

The learned human rights advocate and outspoken campaigner for social justice and peace said that the Rule of Law is our best hope for peace, equity, justice and a civilized society in which the rights of the people are protected and at all times guaranteed. He said Pres. Weah and the Legislature are failing and disappointing the Liberian people too early on in their leadership and ignoring the Rule of Law, is to their own peril because when they stand in need of the law most, the law will fail them, having undermined the law and our institutions of law. He said the full implimentation of all the recommendations of the TRC, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia is sine qua non to the attainment of sustainable national peace, national  unity, national security and national reconciliation in in a non threatening society that offers equal opportunity to all.
He said Pres. Weah must not disappoint the Liberian people. Too many hopes were hinged to his ascendency. He must take the moral high ground in service to state and abandon petty parochial interests, recognize that he took an oath and made a sworn declaration to put Liberia first, hold paramount national interest and uphold sacroscant the Constitution and Laws of the Republic,  otherwise, he will be an ordinary and failed leader and admiration by the people will soon diminish and will leave office soon forgotten as a son of the soil and a “man of the people” without a legacy and a champion “without a cause”.

Meanwhile, the IJG Executive Director has condemned the recent removal of Supreme Court Justice [Kabineh] Ja’neh as a shameful cowardly act orchestrated by a band of “political malcontents” without any well-founded basis in law or the Constitution by an overly ambitious Executive Branch aspiring to become a dictatorship, a rueful House of Representatives, an ignorant Senate and a highly compromised Chief Justice in a Kangaroo forum that flagrantly violated the Constitution of Liberia, which they neither understand nor appreciate. Thus  Bringing shame and disgrace to our beloved patrimony.

Cllr Verdier, a veteran and successful senior Liberian lawyer and member of The Supreme Court Bar went on to say of all the reasons in law and the Constitution that the coconspirators could use to effect their cowardly and unpatriotic act, they choose to woefully, shamefully and disgracefully violate the Constitution when in Article 73, the Constitution provides that ” NO JUDICIAL OFFICIAL SHALL BE SUMMONED, ARRESTED, DETAINED, PROSECUTED OR TRIED CIVILLY, OR CRIMINALLY, BY OR BY THE INSTANCE OF ANY PERSON OR AUTHORITY ON ACCOUNT OF JUDICIAL OPINIONS RENDERED OR EXPRESSED, JUDICIAL STATEMENTS MADE  AND JUDICIAL ACTS DONE IN THE COURSE OF A TRIAL IN OPEN COURT OR IN CHAMBERS, EXCEPT FOR TREASON OR OTHER FELONIES, MISDEMEANOR, OR BREACH OF THE PEACE. STATEMENTS MADE AND ACTS DONE BY SUCH OFFICIALS IN THE COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE PRIVILEGED, AND SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE QUALIFICATION, NO SUCH STATEMENTS MADE OR ACTS DONE SHALL BE ADMISIBLE INTO EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM AT ANY TRIAL OR PROCEEDINGS”

Justice Ja’neh was underrepresented, and his lawyers should be subject to disciplinary hearings and punished or sanctioned, while those lawyers for the prosecution must be disbarred and the Chief Justice deserves to be removed or similarly impeached or made to resign.

The case is not over yet and the Senate  should move to confirm The Honorable Justice Kaba just yet until the Full Bench dispose of the matter by appeal.

In this breath, the advocates or lawyers for Justice Ja’neh must perfect an appeal to the Full Bench of the Honorable Supreme Court. In which case, the compromised Chief Justice, Cllr. Francis Korkpor, will be compelled  to recuse himself and the remaining Justices will decide the appeal.

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